Is there a Fascist thought?
We recognize only one system of dogmas, that of the Roman Church. These dogmas are more necessary to life than life itself; that life, being entirely and always spiritual life, goes on every day remaking and adding to the infinite web of its values its faiths and its principles. Now Fascism is above all and must become still more a mode of living. To fix a dogma for it, in whatever sense this word be understood, means to bind it with a chain which, if it be not immediately burst in the process of action, could not help but coerce and perhaps kill all its major future developments.
The doubt, which without a written doctrine fixed once and for all falls into uncertainty and indiscipline, has now been eliminated by the experience we have gained. Fascism has always obeyed its leaders even when it did not understand them; and its leaders have always guided its actions towards the noblest and remotest heights, even when they themselves were unable to define the nature and meaning of their undertakings in an explicit and simple form. It seems that God Himself, and we must be understood with discretion, is promoting and hiddenly directing this great movement of minds and wills.
Our champions, and first and greatest the Duce, have been urged and inspired from on high, from these heights which are in every man and from which springs the creative flood of will. There is no need of dogma; disciple suffices. This is Fascism’s only dogma.
And this also explains why the dogmatism of Fascism cannot be forthcoming, in any case, from a congress of thinkers and scholars. We are no academy, but a voluntary movement; the problem is not before us, But in us, there is no puzzle to be solved, but a reality to be constructed. It is not the business of the learned, but of the practical leaders of our work to determine, hour by hour, what are the objectives and the goals. The ‘Thinker’ of Fascism is and remains Benito Mussolini; for he has been thinking out Fascism by making it. And this is the first and concrete mode of political thinking.
But you say: Fascism can thus be reduced entirely to action, and to action inspired by its heads and its disciplined ranks, wherein does this thing consist that you call fascist thought, and how can it be distinguished? The answer lies in the question: the kerned of Fascist thought is contained in understanding Fascism in this way. That is, in understanding that politics is creative action and will. And that the thoughts thought, or the schemes, systems and concepts of social and political life which Fascism is laying down and developing in its own bosom, are therefore not premises presupposed for the fact of Fascist action, but rather fruits, products derived from its creative action
We take as our principle that politics is an original creation of the spirit, being realized in it as absolute responsibility towards itself and own action, and in it creating its own ethical personality.
It is man who creates himself, but also God who creates man. By willing in this manner, man feels a power welling up in him and realizing itself, to which he can never deny an absolute value and a quality of absolute reality, and also a quality of a transcendent reality. Hence not every work of man is good, but only the work of man that is inspired by this total and mystic responsibility.
These truths have always been true, and will always be true, but Fascism first recognized their value not only in morals and religion, but also in politics and fought under their banner… It is there that Italian idealism, reviving its most ancient and pure tradition has carried us to a full consciousness of the religious problem; and here and in this sense it is that Giovanni gentile may and should regard himself as the first philosopher of Fascism. He has definitely disentangled the dialectics of the concrete from the dialectics of the abstract, and action the spirit in the sphere of action, understood as a conscious process and hence responsible and moral. It is not an accidental difference between Croce and Gentile that made them evaluate Fascism differently. Croce, the last of the bourgeoisie completing the cycle of the liberal and bourgeois type of mind in the modern period, shut himself up in that cycle and could not gain a sense for the new times, sprung from a renewed and reanimate faith. It is not accidental that Gentile's idealism finds so many echoes and moral affinities in the Fascism action of today.